Definition of eristic in English:



  • 1Of or characterized by debate or argument.

    • ‘In the early history of television, program producers could afford an eristic assumption that they were message purveyors to a receiver-only audience.’
    • ‘While most of this dialogue is given over to Euthydemus’ and Dionysiodorus' eristic display, there are two Socratic interludes.’
    • ‘According to Schopenhauer Eristic Dialectic is mainly concerned to tabulate and analyse dishonest stratagems, in order that in a real debate they may be at once recognised and defeated.’
    1. 1.1 (of an argument or arguer) aiming at winning rather than at reaching the truth.
      • ‘In Eric Ambler's prewar thrillers, the interest (in Auden's words) is ‘the ethical and eristic conflict between good and evil, between Us and Them.’’
      • ‘The squaring of the circle by means of lunes is not eristic, but the quadrature of Bryson is eristic.’
      • ‘Eristic dialogue is arguing for the sake of conflict, fighting, and often to see who can yell the loudest.’
      • ‘Hippias infers from the look of Socrates' speeches and deeds that he is an eristic sophist.’


  • 1A person given to debate or argument.

    • ‘An ancient comic writer has said of him: Eubulides the Eristic, who proposed sophistic dilemmas and confounded the orators with false and pompous arguments, is gone with the vulgar and useless chatter of Demosthenes.’
    • ‘Moreover, we know by the evidence of Sokrates himself, that he was an Eristic not only by taste, but on principle, and by a sense of duty.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The art or practice of debate or argument.
      • ‘It has now fallen to the level of Eristics, in which the winner of a debate is the one who shouts the loudest and has the best arsenal of insults.’
      • ‘In the dialogue Euthydemus, Plato satirizes eristic.’
      • ‘Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote a marvelously cynical manual of eristics called The Art of Always Being Right.’


Mid 17th century: from Greek eristikos, from erizein ‘to wrangle’, from eris ‘strife’.